Letters for Sunday, May 11, 2008

• Why I’m here

• Taking is not the same as giving

• Find out what it means to me

Why I’m here

In commemoration of May being National Drug Court Month, I submit the following letter from a Kaua‘i drug court client. The program can be difficult to complete. The client, “C.N.” is in jail following a program violation:

“I am currently in jail to reflect on my journey I’ve been on, living life on life’s terms. I realize I’ve been doing things I know are wrong. I also catch myself trying to justify my actions. It’s hard to always just do the right things when most of my life was doing what was taught to me.

“Once again I have failed. I failed myself and failed everyone who’s been there helping me. It was brought to my attention that I’m here not because of my crime but more so because of my dishonesty.

“Honesty is the most important thing in my recovery because it is the only way others will know how to help me. Honesty is one of my personal values. Dishonesty is one of my character defects.

“The truth is that I am an addict/alcoholic and I’m always going to be one. I can’t help who and what I am. That doesn’t give me any reason to keep doing what is wrong, but it doesn’t mean I don’t try every day to do my best.

“I struggle. It’s hard. It’s an everyday battle.

“I feel I’ve changed over this very long journey I’ve been on. Sometimes I feel I don’t deserve to be in the drug court program because of all the failures and all the effort the staff has been putting in for me. I’m sick of always being a failure.

“One of my biggest fears is failure, which could put me in jail for a long time. Fear of success. Fear of success because I tend to celebrate in the wrong ways. I’m known to mess up a perfect thing.

“Despite all of my downfalls, I feel I have a lot of potential. I feel the majority of my decisions have been for the better. I budget my money pretty well. I pay my child support monthly, I pay my rent on time, my car is legal, I make my court fines on time, and although I quit my job, I have been making an effort to keep busy applying for jobs or working to make income as much as possible. I do my meetings. I do see my children regularly. I also changed my friends who I’ ve been drinking with.

“I won’t give up trying to break this cycle of dysfunctional insanity that was passed down from generation to generation. I won’t give it up and tell myself, “Screw it, just terminate me,” because I don’t want to be terminated. It is embarrassing every time I fail, but I won’t beat myself and dwell in my “s—.”

“I will dust myself off and keep persevering. I know it’s not my decision whether or not I remain in this program, but nobody is perfect and life is about mistakes and how you deal with them and better yourself. I would like to try and give it another shot.

“I would also like to apologize for my dishonesty. I hold myself, no one else, accountable for my actions and needed this time to reflect on my life and what is at risk that I may lose.

“I also appreciate all the time and hard work all the staff put in to help me.

“One thing I’ve been thinking about in jail is that I have a purpose in life. I wasn’t put in this world to pleasure myself with drugs, alcohol or men. I wasn’t put here to make drug babies to have them taken away and put into the system. I also wasn’t put here to waste my life away in jail.

“I am an able-bodied adult with a lot of potential and my goal before I leave this earth is to find my purpose.” — C.N.

Alton Amimoto


Taking is not the same as giving

Many of us vote for liberals thinking that liberals are more likely to help the needy, which is the right thing to do. Is this approach really morally superior?

We think of ourselves as religious people. Surveys indicate that only around 1 percent of Americans are atheists and only around 14 percent are nonreligious. For the 86 percent of us that consider ourselves religious, Jesus’ brother James has some strong advice for us (1:27):

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

It is our duty to take care of the needy around us. This is not a responsibility that can be passed off to the politicians. If candidates want to help the needy, they do not need our vote. Many of them are millionaires anyway. What they need our vote for is something entirely different.

They are asking you to give them the authority to take money from others through higher taxes and then redistribute it as they see fit (or where they can buy the most votes).

This is taking, not giving.

The Eighth Commandment is not, “Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.”

Increasing taxes in order to purchase health care, or any other goods and services, is not the moral high ground. Rather, it is simply a form of theft. It is wrong.

Americans are a wealthy and a generous bunch. If the politicians would get out of the way, we could do a far better job of taking care of the needy. It would then be giving in love, rather than taking our money by threat from the IRS.

When the government gets involved in charity, it usually does more harm than good. Consider single mothers. The government offers them a chunk of money under two conditions: they don’t have or get a job; and they don’t marry the man they are currently living with. The program actually works to keep them in poverty. This should be no surprise, since keeping the single mothers in poverty will keep the bureaucrats employed. This is their form of job security.

Please see if you can do more to help the needy around you. Also, please do not vote for a politician who is promising goodies but actually promoting theft by majority vote.

Mark Beeksma


Find out what it means to me

Recently Waipuna Higuera-Trask wrote that “we should show the youth some respect” (“Raise children with respect,” Letters, May 8).

I see bumper stickers with the words “Respect the Locals.”

You all who think this way must be kidding. Respect is not given, respect is earned … period.

If one is not getting respect, it is most likely ‘cause one has not earned respect.

Gordon Smith



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